A team of American biologists who tested a Maine restaurant owner’s idea that giving lobsters cannabis before being boiled alive facilitates their death have found that it doesn’t.
The team built a sealed chamber for the lobsters that was filled with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vapor for 30 or 60 minutes through an electric cigarette device.
An analysis of the crustaceans showed that their bodies absorbed the THC, but the psychoactive ingredient only slowed their movements in the boiling water — it didn’t protect them from pain.
The findings disprove the theory of Charlotte Gill, the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound of Maine, who suggested smoking the lobsters would reduce their anxiety and pain during the cooking process.
The team built a sealed chamber for the lobsters that vaporized THC for 30 or 60 minutes using an electric cigarette device. An analysis of the crustaceans showed that their bodies absorbed the THC, but the psychoactive ingredient only slowed their movements in the boiling water – it didn’t protect them from pain
Researchers recently caught wind of Gill’s “little media storm” and determined that three testable claims had been made of her cooking process, one of which they decided to use for their own research.
Can air exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, produce significant tissue levels of the drug in lobsters? If so, does it have observable behavioral effects’, the study reads, preprinted in bioRxiv.
The team purchased a wild female and Maine male lobster from the grocery store for this experiment.
The marine animals were initially housed in an aquarium for several hours, where they feasted on frozen krill, fish flakes and aquatic plants known as anacharis.
From there they were moved to the vapor chamber.
The clear box was designed to seal completely when closed and was filled with just enough water to keep the lobsters alive.
The THC vapor was administered as four puffs over 10 seconds every five minutes.
“For these studies, animals were collected, dosed and euthanized within 4-6 hours for tissue collection,” the researchers wrote in the study.
“Lobsters were exposed to THC vapor for 30 or 60 minutes, then removed from the chamber and rinsed with tap water.”
Tissue samples were taken from the gills, claw, heart, brain and liver, which allowed scientists to see if the lobsters had absorbed the drug and found that you were intoxicated.
The team then tested and observed each lobster’s movements and found that they had slowed down dramatically.
The team then tested and observed the movements of each lobster and found that they had slowed dramatically dramatisch
“Hypolocomotion is a canonical feature of THC exposure in rats and mice, at least at higher doses, thus confirming a similarity of effect between vertebrate and invertebrate organisms,” the researchers wrote.
For the next test, the lobsters were lowered into water heated to 48°C (118.4 degrees Fahrenheit).
Tissue samples were taken from the gills, claw, heart, brain and liver, which allowed scientists to see if the lobsters had absorbed the drug and found that you were under the influence
The team watched as the lobsters responded to the hot stimulus by waving their tails, antennae and claws around.
“Tail immersion resulted in a clear leg and claw response and/or a strong tail movement,” the researchers added in the study.
‘The latter is the escape response of lobsters (and crayfish) and confirms the harmfulness of the stimulus. Immersion of the claws or antenna resulted in a clear movement to remove the appendage from the water.’
The team concludes that “further experiments are needed to fully investigate other behavioral outcomes, including anxiety-like measures.”